I want opportunities, not leads in B2B marketing

In B2B marketing we are tasked with lead generation, but is quantity over quality really the best approach?

Generating top of funnel leads is expensive and often uses a scattergun approach. Having to review and qualify all those leads – good and bad, is extremely time consuming all the while spending more at the top of funnel to fill the hopper. 

Instead, what if the metric you measured was opportunities? That could really spice things up. However, you’d need to look more holistically at what you’re doing as campaigns, marketing automation set-up and reporting would all be different.

Measure what matters

It’s easy to focus on a number, especially when it’s difficult to tie opportunities to marketing. We meet with lots of clients with that challenge. They’re unable to move away from lead volumes as their primary metric, simply because they have no visibility of the pipeline and have little integration with sales. 

At Modern, we see this in organisations big and small and it’s often a cultural issue where the sales team are seen as the drivers of revenue. And as a result, sales often don’t value marketing, making it easier
to throw blame their way when leads don’t turn into opportunities. To me, that’s no surprise, because marketing is being tasked with the wrong metric.

The other factor driving this is the set-up of the marketing stack and how it pushes data into the CRM. You can’t fully evaluate an opportunity or sale without the proper reporting mechanisms and data. That,
along with the added complexity of long sales cycles makes it super-hard to evaluate.

Where marketing is firmly tasked with driving business value – and importantly, revenue, we see a big difference in culture, approach and
the types of marketing activity that’s deployed. 

Making the switch

If you’re considering shifting your focus from leads to opportunities, here’s 5 thoughts to consider:

Know your revenue source You must determine where the revenue is coming from, what types of customers drive that revenue and build personas on them. If you’re tasked with opportunities, it’s way more important that the lead will convert, not that you just generate a bunch of leads. The result is better profiling and segmentation.

Really know your customer You need to know your customer better. You must understand the drivers that make people buy, so your content becomes more considered and relevant throughout the buying cycle. This approach is more strategic because you can’t just talk about your product, you have to be relevant to the customer – and be aware of where they’re at.

Spend time on the data By knowing your customer better, you’re also able to target more effectively – and focus on the channels that deliver leads that are likely to turn into opportunities. This point is critical as it requires performance analysis by channel and source. Many B2B organisations don’t know where their opportunities come from, as the reporting at the level just simply isn’t set-up within their systems. Yes, they know where the goal conversions are happening, but they don’t whether those leads go on and deliver revenue.

Switch your language You’re talking the language of the business. The business understands pipeline, opportunities and sales far better than leads. Those metrics are tangible and when you add $ or £ into your performance reporting, they’ll listen.

Buddy up with sales

Aligning with the sales team is important, generating great leads is one thing but if the sales follow up is substandard or misaligned with the marketing approach then it will fall flat on its face. You need to ensure that the sales team are equipped for this change to ensure the prospect journey is on point. Switching to opportunities and providing sales with opportunities who are more likely to convert is key to uniting the sales and marketing team.

Next steps

To learn more about overcoming the challenges of measuring the right things within marketing, download The Metrics that Matter, a director’s guide to managing metrics in the modern B2B marketing environment. Alternatively, if you’d like to discuss any of the above information further don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

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